Childcare centre and preschool to expand

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Childcare centre and preschool to expand

Party time: Jorja Warren, Harper McLennan and Kinesha Anderson rejoice after learning of government funding for Leongatha Children”s Centre. They are with president Siobhan Kavenagh and daughter Ella Rutjens, centre director Paula Holt and South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Cr Jim Fawcett.

By Brad Lester
FAMILIES across South Gippsland will benefit from extra childcare and kindergarten places to come from the expansion of centres at Leongatha and Inverloch.
Leongatha Children’s Centre will offer at least a further 15 places, and the Inverloch and District Preschool will be able to cater for 140 children by next year.
The boost will come after the State Government last week announced $200,000 for extra rooms to be built at each centre.
The children’s centre will have two rooms – an extended preschool room and a community room – plus an office, and it could possibly house a maternal and child health centre. The expansion will occur to the right of the existing building.
The Inverloch preschool building will double in size within the next 12 months.
Children’s centre president Siobhan Kavenagh said the parent committee had raised $50,000 over the last 10 years.
“I’m delighted, I’m thrilled. We were waiting and waiting. It means that we won’t have to knock back families and will be able to cater for more families,” she said.
Ms Kavenagh said the expansion would allow the centre to meet government demands for lower children to teacher ratios of 1:10.
The bigger centre will also meet the Federal Government’s requirement for children to attend kindergarten for 15 hours a week, instead of the current 10, by 2013.
South Gippsland Shire Council owns the building and could contribute funding to the project. Council has allocated $600,000 to children’s services across the municipality but is yet to determine a sum for the children’s centre.
Mayor Cr Jim Fawcett said council would now work with the Leongatha centre and others to enhance early childhood services.
“Much is being asked of local government to deliver these days and the increased kindergarten hours that are looming are an example, so we are appreciative of this support,” he said.
“It will also help accommodate future demand for places as our townships grow. We have allowed for up to $600,000 in this current budget to contribute to children’s services.
“Council currently has eight years of residential land available (360 lots), plus applications for a further 74ha to be rezoned as residential which, when built on, will place significant pressure on the town’s child care resources.”
Centre director Paula Holt said the centre’s committee of management was proactive in meeting families’ needs.
“Families come from as far as Poowong, Phillip Island, Inverloch and Nyora because parents work in Leongatha,” she said.
A feasibility study ordered by the committee had found demand for childcare services in the future would rise.
The State Government, under its Blueprint for Education and Early Childhood Development 2008 and the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework 2009 policies, wants to improve access to early childhood services.
The grants announced by the Victorian Government were part of the $210 million Victoria received from the Federal Government, as part of the National Partnership on Early Childhood Education and Care.
Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth, Kate Ellis, said the Federal Government was committed to building a world class early childhood education system.
“Ensuring every Australian child has access to 15 hours a week of high quality learning in the year before they start school is a vital investment in our nation’s future,” she said.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=220

Posted by SiteAdmin on Jul 20 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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